This present work is one of his few finely-executed works of recent years in which He has chosen to portray the rugged working women of Daliangshan, as opposed to more commonly known portrayals of graceful, beautiful young women. Using the two greatly contrasting methods of precise execution and uninhibited freehand painting, the artist fully captures the natural, mature, and sincere character of the Yi women of Daliangshan. His rendering is so vivid that their figures appear present to us and it seems as if they stand before the viewer in the flesh. The Yi women of the remote Daliangshan area in Southern China have retained their traditional customs, especially their clothing and jewelry, all of which impart a unique sense of beauty. Their lotus-leaf hats in particular have a distinctive shape that lends itself well to the ink medium. Their drab cloaks contrast greatly with their richly colored skirts. Drawing upon the expressive and subtle power of the Chinese painting medium, the artist demonstrates the unique aesthetic appeal of ink in this painting. In his brushwork, he adds to the aesthetic realism with attention to the strong contrast between what is close and distant, dry and wet, dark and light, red and green, freehand and splashed ink wash. Subtly placed fine lines enhance the realism of the image while soothing ink wash adds a harmonious touch that makes the painting come alive. As the three women sit and stand idle in front of the flatbed cart, their gaze encourages the viewer to join them in pondering the unknown sight at image left. The composition as a whole is thoughtfully rendered with a unique sense of perspective that engages the viewer as if part of the natural scene. The combination of viewer engagement, deft painting techniques and thoughtful composition as a whole are the signature attributes of He Jiaying's masterfully painted works.
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